The Nigerian Senate has announced that all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of government will begin their 2021 budget defense next week.
This was announced on Friday by the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan.
To this end, he announced that the lawmakers will be suspending plenary for two weeks to enable them attend to issues of budget defense at committee levels.
The Senate President also used the opportunity to warn that the deadline for budget defense would not exceed the first week of November and any Minister or Head of Agency that misses the deadline should forget about coming to the National Assembly for the defense at a later date.
He wrote on his Twitter account: “The Senate will from Tuesday next week commence defence of the 2021 budget estimates by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government and therefore will be suspending plenary for two weeks.”
“Before the suspension of plenary, however, we’ll give consideration to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to enable it pass second reading and be referred to the relevant committees for legislative work, just the way we have done to the budget today.”
“The Senate’s deadline for budget Defence would not exceed the first week of November. Therefore, all Ministers and Heads of Agencies should avail themselves of the window provided for their respective budget defence, particularly in line with President Buhari’s directive.”
Dr Lawan explained further that the Ministers and Head of Agencies are expected to personally show up to defend their 2021 budget estimates in compliance with the directive issued by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Last year, President Muhammadu Buhari, gave specific orders that no Minister or Chief Executive should travel out of the country or anywhere else, without defending the budget of his or her Ministry or Agency.”
“I’m sure that directive has remained in the clouds, in fact, the President even repeated a more serious one in his address to us at the retreat; that all Ministers and Heads of Agencies of government must come to defend the budget in person.”
“So, we are waiting for them from next week. Unlike last year, we would have a Programme which will take the remaining part of October and the first week of November.”
“This will be the only window, and nobody should assume that after this period, a Minister or any Head of Agency will come to the National Assembly to defend any budget.”
“If any Ministry is not able to defend its budget by the first week of November, then that Ministry should forget about coming to the National Assembly for budget defense.”
“The National Assembly will perform its constitutional function of working on the budget proposal in the best interest of our people.”